top of page

Mini Spotlights

Photo 3 vs230719-003.jpg

Flow Go
dir. by John Dawson
Program 1 | Something Else | April 26 | 6pm

Flow Go, a 90 second short film by filmmaker John Dawson, showcases a variety of vivid colors and shapes backed by an upbeat track that pulls the audience into a unique viewing experience. The film was made by drawing, scratching, and painting directly onto 16 millimeter film. We can see throughout the film a combination of these things being done at the same time and other times the film focusing only on one of these techniques, allowing for a variety of different visuals throughout. At times there are different colored backgrounds with unique color palettes layering colors on top, and sometimes a plain white background with small color dots and scratches etched into the film. These distinct styles and differences in palettes immerse the viewer throughout the runtime, the colorful frames reminding us of joyful times of our lives like parties, fireworks, and art galleries. The music underneath it all strikes an energetic cord into the piece, one that after listening to it for a couple seconds you’ll notice your foot tapping along to the beat. It’s the cherry on top to a vibrant, fun, and upbeat piece that will make you want to get up and dance after watching.


- Sydney Rogers, BFA Film Production '25


Cinegraffic Score
dir. by iloobia
Program 1 | Something Else | April 26 | 6pm

Some of the most iconic experimental films are experiments with the material of film itself; Stan Brakhage’s Mothlight immediately comes to mind, as do the BOUQUETS of Rose Lowder. It’s something I’ve come to expect from alternative cinema, almost ambivalent. Cinegraffic Score is proof that this type of film can still surprise and innovate. The overview of the film describes it as “a graphic musical score” made from celluloid film. I see the parallels to music with little ‘lemotifs’ that build, certain patterns of filmed images that repeat before moving to the next one. The repetitions of sequences from films feel trapped in time, or purgatory; planes forever spiraling in the air, a man falling and falling but never reaching the ground. Cinegraffic Score is a difficult film to put into words, but it looks like multiple stretches or patches of celluloid being ran through at once, the sprocket-holes and undeveloped edges rendered as black, while the developed images/sequences (and visible waveforms) are often tinted or painted acidic greens, electric blues, shocking purples, or throbbing reds. However, the overall effect is indescribable without commenting on the movement and sound.

The first thing that came to mind watching Cinegraffic Score was the Paris Metro. The dozen strips of film shuttling across the frame were the cars, the pops of color perhaps the individuals routes on the map, the filmed sequences were fellow passengers or advertisements only seen in a flash through a dirty window. The movement is near constant, making the film (both the material and the resulting piece) feel alive and labyrinthine, it’s a pleasurable disorientation. The sound contributes to the bustling energy as well: electrical humming, radios and radars, clicking, skittering, the drone of synth instruments and things shuddering past your ear. It straddles an uncanny line between organic and modulated, where it’s clearly made up of artificial components but has this shambling, organic energy which sets you on edge a little. Cinegraffic Score is a detail-rich technical marvel you just want to get lost in.

-Dexter Mosburg, BFA Film Production '24

thread, Abigail Smith, 2022, still 1.png

dir. by Abigail Smith
Program 1 | Something Else | April 26 | 6pm

Abigail Smith’s thread is a film that explores the theme of creation, by putting two methods of creating together. The film is just a little over two minutes, and per the artist, it was made by running film with thread through a sewing machine, and then projecting the film. In this film she juxtaposes two machines and two creation mediums. Smith first uses the sewing machine, a device and method that's been around a while longer than film and creates something new. Even though a sewing machine can make precise movements and oftentimes will sew in a straight line, this film shows the thread all curved and in a zig-zag formation.

Then Smith takes that film and is able to play it through a projector, although it has now been digitized. Choosing film as the medium for which the thread to be sewn onto allows for a magnifying of the detail of the threads, the colors, textures, and the holes it makes, whereas that would otherwise go unnoticed. Although the film goes by pretty fast, those details are able to be made out, connecting the two mediums in a new way. The sound that accompanies the film accentuates the similarity between the mediums-- is it the sound of film in a projector or fabric in a sewing machine?  There’s a rhythm to it and doesn’t distract from the colors and shapes we see on screen. thread takes two mediums used to create art, and makes them create art together, each beautifully highlighting the other.

- Lily Tucker, BFA Film Production '24


Liminal Senses
dir. by F. C. Zuke
Program 4 | Altered Consciousness 
April 27 | 8pm

​The shot composition through this film includes manipulation of not only the color but incorporation of reflection. The color manipulation within the nature or humanistic shots includes muted and enhanced color but also inverting the color in some shots. Any shot that has emphasis on the eye are shown in black and white and seems to emphasis the shadows but overexpose the rest of the shot. The shot composition for the machine parts are all extreme close ups and F.C. Zuke describes that some of these shots he used the video software to zoom in as close as he could and revealed a bunch of pixelation. He uses a sort of animation a few times to show what appears to be sound waves melting behind a shot of nature followed by a shot of a machine. 

​The usage of sound throughout Liminal Senses emphasizes both the nature and machine aspect of the film. He emphasizes the nature by using genuine wind noise from field recordings during each shot of nature. This helps the view identify a stronger difference between the nature and machines. When it comes to the sound used during the machine segments, he disassembled circuit boards and used a technique referred to as “circuit bending” to get the electronic sounding frequencies. By using this sound, he made it clear to the viewer that what they are seeing is an electronic device that clearly conflicts with the nature.

​Zuke’s aim within this film was to showcase how humans as a whole have moved away from nature and closer to machine powered things, such as phones, computers, and even AI. Through shot composition, shot selection, and emphasis on sound the film shows the viewer how this could potentially be harmful in the future if we as a society continue to rely so heavily on machines. 

- Isabella Riggs, BFA Film Production '24

grain cloud atmosphere_moolhuijsen_program 4.jpg

grain cloud atmosphere
dir. by Martin Moolhuijsen
Program 4 | Altered Consciousness 
April 27 | 8pm

One of the most impressive techniques seen in experimental films is physically manipulating film. Scratching, painting, or even spitting on a strip of film has been notable among experimental filmmakers as one of the most difficult approaches to alternative cinema. However, the final product of this approach is perhaps the most beautiful viewing experience an audience can have. In grain cloud atmosphere, we witness that. With unfamiliar images displayed, the audience is invited to view the images one by one and take us through a different type of film experience. Rather than following a narrative, grain cloud atmosphere displays its beautiful abstract images like each is a piece of art.

The film begins in black and white. The images are accompanied by a high-pitched sound that seems to crawl its way into the ear of the viewer. The sound adds to the abstract nature of the piece. The black and white paint splatter then changes. We see short hints of color: green, blue, and yellow, before the images become faster and blend the color into the picture. Even though the cuts have increased their pace, the overall nature of the piece becomes more calming. Once the colored pictures have been projected for about one minute, they become a blur to the eye, just color.

The images allowed me to interpret them in different ways. Just like one applies context to an abstract painting, I did the same to the images of grain cloud atmosphere. The paintings on film reminded me of an unknown galaxy. I saw beaming stars and waves of color that spread through the night sky. Then the images change, reminding me of a room full of butterflies all flapping their wings in unison. These interpretations show the beauty of painting on film.

There is such a beautiful experience viewing a "painted-on film" film. There is no story to follow, just the pictures made for us to see. The diverse sound accompanying the stunning painted images allows for an even more impactful experience. The abstractness of grain cloud atmosphere lets the audience create their own interpretations to the painted images, which is something rarely seen.

- Gabe Wyatt, BFA Film Production '26

Photo 2 july_12_.00_01_49_03.Still011.jpg

dir. by Elias Hill
Program 5 | What Next  | April 28 | 1pm

Aluna, a film by Elias Hill, is a beautiful film that is a manifestation of the connection and trust between living beings on this Earth. The visuals, the music, and the few lines that are spoken are what truly highlight the interconnectedness between beings. There are only two women in the film and it opens on two hands with shells on every finger intertwined together and moving so slowly that it is almost indistinguishable as two separate hands at first. This focus on bridging the gap between humans and nature, that modern society has, seems to be a natural way of life for the world of this film. The only words spoken in the film are “The beginning sings in the shell. Everything is an ocean song. Everything was sea. Everything is Aluna.” which of course informs the rest of the film. It is now clear that it is not solely about two people, it is not solely about these shells, the water, the dirt, the sand, it is an exploration and acceptance of all of it.

Through movement, these performers meld with each other and the earth. Two images that stick out regarding this melding of all three is when they appear to be in pitch black darkness reaching up behind one another and rubbing their hands over the face of the other with open eyes and mouths, both fully submitting to the other. After, there are other shots of them fully submerged or floating atop the water, but the next stand-out image that fuses both humans and earth is when one of the performers is rubbing sand down her face. Interjecting between this repeated image, are different shots of the performers embracing each other in different ways or

being as close to nature as possible, even going into dark crevices. When the film returns to her rubbing sand on her face it is played in reverse, giving it an uncanny feeling that this is something that has gone on continuously in a loop. Especially when underscoring both of these actions is minimalistic meditation music that sounds like a Tibetan singing bowl. Working together, the visuals and sound, create an immersive meditative experience that feels as if there is no beginning or end – there is just now – and this experience allows the audience to reflect upon these innate connections between nature and humans, along with the performers. It is a welcome reminder that everything is interconnected and should be respected.

- Elise Bear, BA Theatre and Performance '24


Ferne Stimmen
dir. by Annik Leroy & Julie Morel
Program 5 | What Next  | April 28 | 1pm

Ferne Stimmen is a ghostly portrayal of the silence women are forced into exhibiting. The haunting poems of Hannah Arendt float over scenes of a Eastern bloc village, one blanketed with an aura of authoritarianism. The use black and white highlights the stillness of the village and the sterile despair of Hannah Arendt’s poetry. The camera, our point of view, is nearly as slow as the town around us, forcibly pivoting beyond the control of the camera. A certain uncanniness lies around each corner, and the hesitance of the camera elicits a fearful dread of what may be looming in this dead village. The panning of the camera grinds loudly akin to the chislement of rock and stone, the grinding of concrete on concrete. Something is watching every corner of this town, even when nothing is happening. Where something is happening is not being captured. Not a soul inhibits the village on screen for most of the duration of Ferne Stimmen until the end. Nervous, an anxious knee bounces with unease. A woman, her face cropped out of frame, voices her stance on the importance of women in the economy and how often they go neglected or forgotten. She disappears from frame and darkness overtakes the frame, yet her voice can still be heard. She expresses the fear she has and the lack of trust she feels with the local authorities who turn a blind eye to problems they face, as the cameras and focuses of the village are not of the threats themselves, but the looming dread that drifts from each decrepit building to the next.

- J. Tyler Wright, BA Theatre and Performance '24

bottom of page